The Web of Stormwater
What free stormwater web based resources are available to MS4 Phase II operators on limited budgets? Which web links are very helpful to stormwater professionals? From national and state government resources to local geographic Information systems, these tools can help stormwater managers and consultants conducting site assessment research. The additional data can produce informed decisions. There are several national organizations offering data such as USGS, FEMA, USFW, USDA, and NOAA. State, county and city data resources are available to assist MS4s too. This presentation establishes data sources, web links, information provided, and stormwater functionality etc. An introduction of the online data resources will be presented with brief application demonstrations. Information technology novices can access and analyze data from these tools.
On a national scale, the USGS offers topographic information and Real Time Water and Flood data. The FEMA Map Service Center provides flood zone information. The USFW National Wetland Inventory (NWI) provides wetland information and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides the Web Soil Survey. NOAA administers the National Weather Service, which publishes precipitation data, and Weather Hazard Announcements. The information is used to establish stormwater concern trends in the municipality. The weather hazard announcements predict rainfall amounts so small MS4s can be prepared for potential drainage issues and staff resource distribution during storm events. Google Earth Pro contains historical land use data. Examples of all these links will be demonstrated with their functionality to the MS4.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality maintains a water regulatory database, water quality maps, and a Geostore. The state regulatory database can be used to see if any reportable spills occurred in the MS4 in the past year. Enviroview and Geostore offer free general data sets such as county boundaries, state highways, major watersheds, and ecologically sensitive waters. For example, streams with TMDLs can be seen or downloaded. The files can be viewed on ESRI products. Even though the State of Arkansas is being used as an example, students can take these examples back to their home states to see if they have similar data sets.
Sometimes State data sets are not frequently used because they can be very broad in nature. It is best to start with local government offices such as Counties, city, or Regional Planning Commission to find local data sets that can be more site specific. The City of Bentonville gained LIDAR elevation data from a grant contract administrated by local regional planning commission. Multiple layers of data are available on the public GIS system. MS4s are required to have storm system mapping. Bentonville uses it daily along with the FEMA floodplain mapping to assess reported stormwater related concerns. NWI data is used during plan review to make preliminary assessments for the presence or absence of surface waters. An example of a project with these attributes will be shown.
The availability of data resources varies across the country and this is not an all-inclusive list. Some stormwater managers have been using these tools for a while and others may not know about them. This presentation can inspire stormwater managers to make their own community specific compilation of a stormwater resource digest. It can be taken to the next level by generating lists of useful models too. For example, some communities are using drainage management data collection templates for post construction stormwater management or IDDE management. Whatever the case, the goal is to protect the water resources with the best available technology. Go and be part of the stormwater web.